Cheap ~ Easy ~ Comfy Tent Dress!

I buy a lot of skirts at thrift stores. They’re one of the few articles of clothing most second-hand stores have a great selection of. I suppose it’s because a nice skirt is something a woman would buy, wear a few times and then never wear it again. On another note, it’s sometimes hard to guess why items end up at thrift stores, in this skirt’s case though I don’t have to guess… I know. This skirt bleeds dye, lots of dye, and did the first time I washed it and does it still many washes later. If it wasn’t a favorite dress of mine, I wouldn’t bother to hand-wash it separately every time.

I digress. Anyway, I bought this silly hippie skirt specifically to turn into a tent dress. I don’t know if that’s the technical term for a dress that has no waist, but it describes the style perfectly. This dress is pulled on over the head and has two lace straps and hugs the chest right above the breasts.

To turn your own maxi skirt into a tent dress is crazy easy, I barely measured any part of this and it turned out great. It only took me a half hour to complete, and the only supplies I used were thread, scissors, a sewing machine, and lace for the straps.

The first thing to do if you would like to make your own, is check to see if the waistband of the skirt fits snugly at chest level. Mine didn’t, so I cut up the length of the skirt turning it into a rectangle of fabric:

I removed about 6 inches of width, and pulled the drawstrings and elastic out of the waistband casing. Since the dress will be pulled on over the head, the opening can be fitted to the chest without zippers/drawstrings/elastic. With the new width of fabric correct, I sewed the seam back together. I would recommend a french seam, to conceal the raw edges.

At this point the dress is done, it just needs some sweet straps. I used a length of hot pink crocheted lace that I dyed for this project, but didn’t end up using. To make attaching the straps extra easy I pinned scrap ribbon to the dress until I liked the placement and length, then cut into the pink lace for the real straps.

Since this dress was so casual anyway I didn’t really bother making the straps very neat. In less than 10 minutes the straps were on and I was wearing the dress. I sewed the two pieces of lace together at one end, and attached them to the wrong side at the center of the back.


I lined up the other end of each piece of lace to the wrong side of the front and attached those as well.

Bam! Cute dress, for nothing but a couple bucks and a half hour. I will forever be looking for more simple skirts to turn into ultra comfy tent dresses. The same thing could also be achieved by sewing plenty of pleated fabric to a “waistband” and adding straps, but I like to save fabric for more intricate designs (it’s so expensive LOL!)

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